December 11, 2008
I was fascinated to discover the auction hybrid site swoopo.com (previously known as telebid.com). It's a strange combination of eBay, woot, and slot machine. Here's how it works:
- You purchase bids in pre-packaged blocks of at least 30. Each bid costs you 75 cents, with no volume discount.
- Each bid raises the purchase price by 15 cents and increases the auction time by 15 seconds.
- Once the auction ends, you pay the final price.
I just watched an 8GB Apple iPod Touch sell on swoopo for $187.65. The final price means a total of 1,251 bids were placed for this item, costing bidders a grand total of $938.25.
So that $229 item ultimately sold for $1,125.90.
But that one final bidder got a great deal, right? Maybe. Even when you win, you can lose. Remember that each bid costs you 75 cents, while only increasing the price of the item 15 cents. If you bid too many times on an item -- or if you use the site's "helpful" automated BidButler service, which bids on your behalf -- you'll end up paying the purchase price in bids alone. For this item, if you bid more than 305 times, you've paid the purchase price -- and only raised the cost of the item by $45.75 total.
OK, so bidding a lot is a bad idea, so maybe we only bid one time, or a few times, and near the end of the auction? Great plan, except the auction is extended 15 seconds each and every time someone bids in those final seconds. There are absolute end dates for the auctions, but they're usually so far in the future that the auction will end through attrition long before they reach their end date. I've often wondered if eBay would implement this feature, as it would effectively end last second sniping, a huge problem for auction sites. Well, beyond the obvious problem with auctions, which is that the most optimistic person sets the price for everyone else.
There's something else at work here, though, and it's almost an exploit of human nature itself. Once you've bid on something a few times, you now have a vested financial interest in that product, a product someone else could end up winning, rendering your investment moot. This often leads to irrational decisionmaking -- something called the endowment effect, which has even been observed in chimpanzees. So instead of doing the rational thing and walking away from a bad investment, you pour more money in, sending good money after bad.
It's pretty clear to me that swoopo isn't an auction site. It bills itself as "entertainment shopping". I think it is in fact a lottery; the only way to win here is sheer dumb luck.
Or, of course, by not playing at all.
But wait -- it gets worse! Swoopo also offers
- Penny auctions, where each bid only increases the price of the final item by 1 cent, while still costing you 75 cents.
- FreeBids auctions, where the item up for grabs is Swoopo bids. Near as I can tell, this is swoopo printing their own money.
- 100% off auctions, where the "winner" (and I use this term loosely) pays nothing for the final item, regardless of what the final price is bid up to. Imagine the bidding frenzy on this one at 75 cents a pop.
- Cash auctions, where you win actual real money at the end. It's like they're not even trying to pretend they don't run a gambling site with these.
It's not clear that Swoopo even has the items they auction; they appear to sell first, then use the money they gain from the completed auction to buy and ship the item. Furthermore, they have a clause in their Help under Delivery and Shipping that lets them ship "equivalent" items:
On rare occasions we are no longer able to source the specific item detailed in the auction. When this happens, we will contact you and offer to send you an equivalent item of at least equal value. Many of the products we sell are high-technology items that have a short life-cycle, so often this will mean an upgrade to the newer version of the item.
There are also rumblings that swoopo silently pits users from the different territory websites against each other in individual auctions, such that UK users are unwittingly bidding against US users. This is done to ensure that there is around the clock bidding to extend auction end dates as long as possible.
In short, swoopo is about as close to pure, distilled evil in a business plan as I've ever seen. They get paid for everything up front, and as they drop ship everything there's no inventory or overhead to worry about. It is almost brilliantly evil, in a sort of evil genius way. You can't stop people from endowment effect fueled bidding when they have the individual chance, however small it may be, to win a $2,000 television for $80 -- while collectively sending the house $10,000 or more.
My admiration stops short of sites that prey on the weak and the uneducated -- and of business plans that are almost certainly illegal, at least here in the US.
As always, caveat emptor.
Posted by Jeff Atwood
A fool and his money are easily parted.
As much as I think it's a scam, that is pure genius. I'd heard about the dollar auction from economics, but never thought of putting it in to use like this.
Yes it's extremely unethical... but my god it's clever.
Funny part is, there are more fools then there are money.
I decided to check the site out and see how things worked. They must be rolling in money. I did some quick calculations on one of the Toshiba laptops they had listed as a penny bid, staring at a penny and they are reporting the last one auction closed at $109.27. One the surface someone got a heck of a deal, less than 10% of the retail price, I would hate to think how much the winner paid in bidding fees.
Swoopo made out like bandits, almost $8,200 in bidding fees and after buying and drop shipping that laptop they probably pocketed around $6,800. Actually lets be generous and say the 'administrative costs' for the auction was $800 - that is still $6,000 in pure profit on one item.
The sad thing is in troubled economic times people will find this site looking for a bargain and greatly enriching those running this company.
Awesome post. I saw you mention it on Twitter and had a gander at the site. I can't believe that people are this uneducated to not understand the simple Algebra behind this. Then again, American Idol gets great ratings...
On the surface someone got a heck of a deal, less than 10% of the retail price, I would hate to think how much the winner paid in bidding fees.
One person gets a great deal (depending on how many 75 cent bids they placed), and hundreds or thousands of other people lose money.
The only way to beat this system would be for every bidder to collude *not to bid*. Worldwide. So, impossible, in short. You can't beat the house.
I'm not sure what law you think they must be violating, offhand.
It's pretty vile, but I see no reason to imagine it must be illegal.
(I also find it hard to believe the employee's claim that they lose money on 70% of the auctions... unless they're only getting one or two bidders.
I suppose it possible they have a lot of low-value auctions of cheap stuff, so they can lose a small amount of money on them to pad the stats; things like the aforementioned laptop are Iinsanely/i profitable.
I'd love for that employee to tell us what the average profit/loss per auction was.)
They put Vegas to shame. Pure brilliance. If you're going to build a gambling website, this is the way to do it!
I discovered Swoopo a few months ago and had pretty much the same reaction as Jeff and most of the commenters here.
I also spent a couple of hours on Wikipedia, starting on the Dollar Auction page, moving on to Logical Fallacies, Irrational Escalation of Commitment, and Cognitive Biases pages (and lots of subpages) looking for ideas for my own barely-legal psychological-trap site.
Learned a lot, but didn't have any ideas.
Here's how to make a nice profit off of the profiteers.
Set up your own website. Charge 40 cents per bid and drive up the price by 10 cents for every bid received. Every second bid, you pass through to swoopo. The other half of the bids you make a record of, but otherwise don't act on.
Your website would make 80 cents per swoopo bid, which cost you 75. It would also drive up the price by 20 cents per swoopo bid, of which you keep 5 cents. All of swoopo's customers would come to your site because on the face of things it offers a better deal.
Someday, I will have an idea as good as this.
The director of business development for swoopo, Chris Bauman, responded to an interview here:
Some unbelievable responses.... apparently the only reason we are angry is because we are losers:
JG: Why are some people are getting really pissed off at Swoopo? Chris Bauman: It is unfortunate that an auction has just one winner. It is the nature of the beast. People that don’t win are going to be mad, even regretful sometimes, but those very same feelings happen on other auctions like eBay too.
This is about as evil as the win a free ipod crap!!
It is evil, but the people who play it must be really dumb or desperate. Works maliciously well.
(The verb playing fits well. They should use it)
The whole swoopo thing actually reminded me of a joke that I heard on the www.boagworld.com podcast a couple of weeks ago. Seems like the joke is maybe on those who are bidding! The joke went like this:
A city boy, Kenny, moved to the country, bought a donkey from an old farmer for $100.00.
The farmer agreed to deliver the donkey the next day.
The next day the farmer drove up and said, Sorry son, but I have some bad news, the donkey died.
Kenny replied, Well then, just give me my money back.
The farmer said, Can't do that. I went and spent it already.
Kenny said, OK then, just unload the donkey.
The farmer asked, What ya gonna do with him?
Kenny, I'm going to raffle him off.
Farmer, You can't raffle off a dead donkey!
Kenny, Sure I can. Watch me. I just won't tell anybody he is dead.
A month later the farmer met up with Kenny and asked, What happened with that dead donkey?
Kenny, I raffled him off. I sold 500 tickets at two dollars a piece and made a profit of $898.00.
Farmer, Didn't anyone complain?
Kenny, Just the guy who won. So I gave him his two dollars back.
And others could do the same to your service (with decreasing profit margins) and just have a big happy chain of it. My god, it's full of scams!
Why would you waste keystrokes on this? Who cares?
I just saw a wii fit sold for $93.60 (RRP = $89.9)
Until $80 there were more then 10 people still going.
5 people went until $90, and 3 battled for the final price.
money cow. or money tree.
Why would you waste keystrokes on this? Who cares?
swoopo is the perfect storm of wild west anything goes internet business models, designed to make money by any means necessary.
Only on the internet..
It's a strange combination of eBay, woot, and slot machine.
I had never been to the site but after watching for a few minutes, I totally agree with the slot-machine comparison. ::shivers ::
Wow. They also selling an item called 50 FreeBids Voucher. You bid to win an action so that you can bid more. I guess the idea is that you could make bidding less expensive. This is utterly ridiculous..
This is one of the most common Poker misconception - pot commitment. Basically, it describes people who put money in a pot, then get bad cards, but continue to call other peoples bets, because they feel they are committed to the pot, because they put so much money in it.
The simple truth most professional Poker players will tell you - there is no such thing as pot commitment. The same holds true here: even if you bid 100 times on something, and wasted 75 bucks in bids to get to, say, $200, you are still not off any worse if you just ABANDON that auction, and bid $210 once on a different auction for the same item instead. It only feels like you are bound to this auction.
Remember that iPod Touch I referred to in the post? Here's the actual item:
The winner, Xopex, paid more than the price of the item with 98 bids.
Worth up to: $229.00
Placed bids (98): $73.50
Final price: $187.65
The item page says that's a savings of 0%! Really it's a savings of -14% but who's counting..
I thought eBay did automatically extend auctions?
Anyway... on eBay.. you just bid once. Bid the highest amount that you would pay for the item. Your bids are automatically upped to your max bid.
So, bid as much as you are willing to pay, and .01 cent more you wouldn't care. Then deal with it if you loose buy .01. If you were willing to pay more, why didn't you make that your original bid?
That is fiendishly brilliant, I wish I was not cursed with a conscience.
Sunk cost fallacy strikes again!
reminds me altivi.com incident in turkey. many people were arrested.
They can't lose! Simply by ensuring the house places the last bet. As long as some schmuck places a bid each auction generates revenue.
Brilliant business model, but does not seem illegal. Actually, they website won't let you register if you live in certain states, so it looks like the laws are based on the state level.
I see it like a carnival game. In a carnival game, you pay $1 and get three balls. With these three balls you have to knock down 3 pins off a pedestal. If you succeed, you win an item that is worth far more than $1. If you do not succeed, you just played the game which cost you $1 and you got nothing to show for it - you can always try again for $1.
With swoopo, it seems like the same thing. You pay $0.75 for a chance to play a game. The game involves skillfully placing a bid at a time when others are least likely - where the cost has gotten high enough where people are not likely to bid, but not so high where you are not saving enough money to offset your risk of losing $0.75. If you succeed, you get to buy some nice hardware at a bargain. If you don't you can always try again for another $0.75.
This is all assuming they are running an honest operation according to their stated rules.
Caveat emptor indeed.
I think this is absolutely crazy.I have never heard of this web site what everyone seems to be losing money.I think if I was the people bidding I would just stop nowbecause it doesn't seem like you will ever get a good deal.
There's something else at work here, though, and it's almost an exploit of human nature itself.
The whole ad industry is based on this principle. Nothing new here. People whining about swoopo are probably jealous. I mean here they are, a web start-up that actually makes money.
Uh, hey. People.
It doesn't matter if this is the worst, most evil thing in history. This is the United States. People have a right to be as dumb as they want, and other people have a right to take advantage of those dumb people, so long as they have given consent.
It's a good system to make sure that dumb people don't get too much money or power. So good job, Swoopo, for keeping us save from the idiots who would fall for your crap.
wow - fantastic analysis! I hit the site a couple times through ads, and felt like something was a little off - that 'entertainment shopping' / lottery / gambling angle is dead on, that's exactly what's going on.
It's not quite as clever as a system that encourages users to spend time creating online content against which advertising can be sold, without the obligation to pay for that time at a fair market rate.
Anyone want to bet that they don't display the remaining amount of bids you have?
As noted before, there was a very similar auction site in Turkey, called altivi.com.
I think the way altivi worked was even crazier than Swoopo. Every item had a ceiling price, and a bid price. You could bid any price below the ceiling price, and each bid cost you the bid price for that item (usually between 1 TRY and 20 TRY). In the end, the highest unmatched (meaning only the winner had bid that price) bid won.
It later turned out that the founders of the site provided backdoor access to their friends so that they could see the highest unmatched bid for any item. There were rumors of people winning two BMWs in a row.
Needless to say, the site was shut down (though it still says it's closed for technical maintenance), and the founders have been arrested.
I assume a large chunk of bidders would wait till it is just 1 secs left and click bid. This means there could be a number of people clicking bid right at the time it it hits 1 sec. This means from just 1 sec left I should jump up to more than a 15 secs multiple. Yet while watching it I see many times where it jumped only to 15 secs and dropped to around 1 sec, then back to 15. Something ain't right there!
I've never understood the Puritan attitude to gambling in the US.
Unless the system is rigged in a *hidden* way, there's nothing wrong with it, and to interfere (other than to verify against hidden levers) would be to curtail personal and economic liberty.
Barry, These kinds of sites are 95% rigged.
Often by the owners themself, since there are nobody controlling the rules for them, compared to an auctionsite, a gamblingsite and similar.
Sellers on ebay have little to gain for bidding on their own stuff as they risk it not selling... But on Swoopo... if they weren't already making obscene profit (There is a Nokia N96 16 GB (~$600) going for $1,272, which means they've already made $6,361 in bids, not to mention the fact that they get to sell it for at least twice its resale value when the action finally finishes) they COULD have employees with free bids bid on their own stuff, so then if the employee wins it, they get to keep the money for all the bids and don't have to actually go and purchase the item. That is if they are more evil than they already are...
What some commenters have alluded to, but no one has explicitly stated, is that you can run a site like swoopo.com without ever holding any of the items you auction.
When the house puts the item up for sale, it costs the house nothing to raise the item's bid. (It costs the house nothing to buy an item from itself.) Now in an ordinary auction, the house gains nothing by buying from itself (reserves just prevent losses). However, swoopo.com collects a fee for every bid, which means they can make money on a no-sale.
Bad timing on my part--Dan wrote it before I did. Anyway, this means the site takes a loss only if they choose to--and I'm going to guess they choose not to. The key to extending their profit--because people tend to get bored or get wise--is to move the site around, using different names and hitting different regions.
Ok, not they're auctioning off $80 cash. How is that not illegal?
First off, it's brilliant. If they're bidding on their own items, that's shill bidding, and it is already illegal (it's a type of fraud). But if they're not bidding on their own items, I see no reason that this should be illegal. It's a game for suckers, but then so are slot machines. If they're disclosing the rules and playing by them, what's the harm? I could sell a stupid plastic kitchen gimmick on TV that costs me $1 to make and call it a $60 value and suckers would buy it by the truckload. Just because people overpay for something doesn't mean it should be illegal.
Not very ethical, but I don't think the premise of the site is, or should be, illegal. Pitting bidders from UK vs the US, making use of the sunk cost decision-making bias, etc, are simply clever business ideas. Like you say, caveat emptor. The bidders know what they are in for. They can see for themselves how the site works. Damn, I wish I thought of this idea myself.
It's pretty clear to me that swoopo isn't an auction site. It bills itself as entertainment shopping. I think it is in fact a lottery; the only way to win here is sheer dumb luck. There you have it. Lotteries are not illegal.
Reading my above comment I realise that I should add one thing: the site should be deemed a lottery and it should be made to represent itself as a lottery explicitly clearly, rather than a hybrid ebay auction style shopping site.
OMG I totally loved War Games. Fav movie of ALL time!
I don't understand why sniping is a problem for auction sites. Is it just that it's annoying and might cause customers to go elsewhere, or does it hurt profitability in some other way?
@ASDF: Lotteries are not illegal.
Depends on where you are. I know there are a lot of places where random businesses can't legally run lotteries (even though there are state-approved or run lotteries in some of those places).
Not just the websites. There are Reverse Auction schemes working just like this. They work mainly through TV and phones (SMS + calls) although a web interface is provided at http://bid2win.in
I went ahead and tested out 30 bids on swoopo.com. I can confirm there is no possible away of winning anything cheap. The amount of people placing bids was insane.
My fear is that all it would take is for a bot, written by their company, to keep the bids going until they made their money back. I actually saw prices go over the retail amount.
My advice is to stay away.
Any cease and desist letters from swoopo's legal goons arrive yet?
I wish i'd invented this. Seriously.
Oh no, I am kidding.
How will this software get a 22 year old laid? If they figure that one out, Google better watch out. I suspect Dr. Evil might be one of the founder.
I came across this site while shopping for my wife's Christmas gift (a portable navigation system, like a Garmin or TomTom). The prices were amazing and you know the saying, if it's too good to be true, it probably is.
After reading more into the service I couldn't believe the scam they were running.
My thinking is - you may be able to come away with a few deals on this site if you had a lot of historic data. If you knew an iPod sold for $100 the past 100 auctions, you could then immediately bid that amount and hope it was too high for others to bid, thus getting that item for $100.75 (with the price of your bid).
It all just seems to iffy for me to even want to take part in. Thanks for pointing out this shady service Jeff, hopefully others that aren't as willing to read into what they are getting into will see this post first.
They can trade sex for swoopo bid tokens
This is completely brilliant.
I can't see why this would be considered any more illegal or unethical than a state-run lottery, though. It's essentially the same system, and presumably the same dumb people getting suckered in by it.
What if they gave 15% of their gross to charity? Would that affect your opinion of them?
Sounds like the same thing is fueling the US financial system bailouts.
A clever hack of human nature. Early on people pay the $0.75 bidding fee for the bid because the price is so low... the less than a dollar potential loss is far less than the savings. Later, the committed bidders who have run the price up suffer from sunk cost psychology and can't stop bidding.
That all said, I'm not quite sure where the illegality is. It isn't a lottery, as the winner is deterministic: the final bidder with the highest bid. Depending on how the terms of service has armored the $0.75 bidding fee against claims of fraud, this might just be one of those legal, only because nobody thought of it before cases.
I can't see why this would be considered any more illegal or unethical than a state-run lottery, though.
Because it is ... not state-run?
When you get people to pay 0.75 x 30 to increase the price 0.15 x 30 for something they will not get - yes, that's evilishly smart. Maybe the perfect shopping experience: You get to pay money, getting excited by thinking that you bought it (for a while, until someone *stupidly* thinks it's worth more than you, then, where willing to pay) and you don't even have to fill your home with stuff you don't need!
The clause doesn't let them ship something equivalent; it says that in the event if a winning item is unavailable, they can offer you an equivalent item.
The distinction is that in this case, the winner must accept the offer; I interpreted your meaning as if they can arbitrarily ship you an equivalent item without your consent.
Why should this be illegal? Immoral, sure, but those dumb people are throwing away their money of their own free will...
Last second sniping is not a huge problem with auction sites - it is a legitimate tactic!
I hate double posting, but I just spent a few minutes watching the front page at Swoopo.
Never before has greed been more clearly displayed in all of its glory. The flash of red that indicates a new bid (and $0.75 more in the site's pocket) is mesmerizing.
Unlike the earlier poster, I wish I had thought of this. No provisos.
Heh. We have had these things in Finland for a few months and apparently they still pull in new users. When fiksuhuuto.com was new, I did some logging (it shows the name of latest bidder on main page so that's easy with some screen scraping) and found out that most users try just a few bids before they find out that if is not worth it. However, there were some users that put in hundreds of euros during the couple of days I collected data.
As far as I know, there is a lawsuit against them but it is progressing as slowly as lawsuits usually do.
One of my co-workers had a brilliant idea. Over under betting on how high the price will get along side the right to buy bidding.
This site is amazing. I simultaneously can't believe that people would spend money to buy a bid, and at the same time I'm somewhat in awe of the dastardly assholes who came up with this cash-printing scheme.
This is an evil plan but I'm not willing to call it gambling. This seems no different than a seat licensing system. You pay for the opportunity to purchase an item. It just happens that you bid on the seat license and the item. Effectively raising your cost .90 each time. The outcome does not require luck and is deterministic.
swoopo is a rip off. It is to difficult to win.
I'll just stick to low bid auction sites like http://www.UTurnBids.com for my want to get cool stuff really, really cheap cravings.
Also I like how the swoopo labels completed auctions as Ended
Here's a nice example of how purely evil (or bugged) swoopo.com actually is.
If two (or more) people have a BidButler on the same auction, they can get into a bidding war that can cost the users several dollars over the course of half a second.
I was watching a Wii auction and noticed the BidButlers bidding every now and then when the timer was almost up and the user wasn't winning. However, at one point, the timer (which had been sub 15 seconds) spiked to about 5 minutes and I noticed two BidButlers battling it out in the bidding history. Each BidButler bid would trigger the other one to bid since it was no longer winning and the timer hadn't updated yet. This was an easy $15 for swoopo.com.
That seems like something they could get into a lot of trouble for since the system is essentially stealing money, but I guess when you have no soul you don't worry about that kind of thing. =/
Another thing... one supposes that the powers-that-be at swoopo will participate in an auction if it isn't showing a profit-- Boosting an auction is a pure win for them, since bids don't cost swoopo anything, and any 'user' (i.e., 'sucker') participation at a higher auction level is pure profit... right?
This site was almost certainly invented by Dogbert.
Each auction is basically a miniature ponzi scheme. I don't think it's really relevant whether some or all of the people in a ponzi scheme know that they are playing chicken with the other participants. It should still be illegal. If this is gambling--and at best it is--it should be clearly labeled and regulated as such.
This kind of sites was found to be a lottery in Sweden and was banned, but the owners just moved to UK and runs it from there nowdays.
Most of them got hacked and people noticed that the owners had tons of fake accounts making bids so there was no winners on it except the owners that took in the cash.
So, these kinds of sites are really more or less just scams!
There doesn't seem to be any way to prove that the owners of the site themselves are not bidding on items, which would cost them nothing and drastically inflate the bid total.
Meanwhile, Dubli runs the same racket, but the bids go down instead of up. Is it less evil?
Meanwhile, Dubli runs the same racket, but the bids go down instead of up. Is it less evil?
That is so brilliantly predatory that I'm truly envious.
I mean, seriously, I'm watching the bids and mentally calculating how much money they're raking in per *minute*...
Yeah, it's predatory and probably morally grey - at best - but at the same time, it's brilliant.
As far as it being any kind of lottery - it's not. A lottery is a game of chance, that is - the key factor in any lottery game is some form of stochastic process (card deals, ball withdrawal without replacement, spinning dials, roulette wheels, dice rolls, coin tosses) that makes it non-determininistic. Bets are an indication of a gambler or lottery participant's confidence in their overall position versus other users' positions (or the house's position) based on _knowledge_ that the eventual outcome is non-deterministic.
In these auctions, many of you seem to be missing the point - there isn't an element of chance. It is fully deterministic - except that the most of the variables that determine the outcome are only known to those running the auction. Sure, there are _human_ elements that make it essentially impossible to predict the outcome as an end-user, but on a mathematical basis? No way is this a lottery or gambling - there are no actual _random processes_ that are intrinsic to the auction itself. The only random element is from the bidders themselves, which removes it from the definition as a game of chance.
So I think it is in fact a lottery that is JA expressing an opinion, but not one based on mathematical fact. Whether the only way to win here is sheer dumb luck is true? I guess you'd have to ask the end-users.
I've often wondered if eBay would implement this feature, as it would effectively end last second sniping, a huge problem for auction sites.
There's nothing wrong with sniping! Sites like eSnipe etc. essentially turn ebay into a silent auction site, where the bidders figure out the absolute maximum they want to pay, and bid just once. Auto-sniping spares the bidders from falling prey to auction fever, and the price is set to the true value the bidders decide up-front that they are willing to spend.
Bidding early in an auction is a sure sign of an ebay newbie.
Great post, thanks for informing us Jeff.
Great post, thank you for show us the evil ones :)
but... with more than 28 million dollars in revenue ... there are a lot of crazy people out there in the web!!
friggan badass if you ask me...i got a tv for 30 bucks and only spent 6,000 at the site that week...what a deal i got
This place is risky for anyone's money.
I'm staying away. Done.
Thanks for the heads up, I don't go in for online bidding much,but, have warned friends and family.
Here is another good deal:
Worth up to: $189.99
Placed bids (222): $166.50
FreeBids (0): $0.00
Final price: $79.80
One other thing, if you look at the bottom of the auction they have a shipping cost of $19.90. Looks like this guy spent $266.20 on something you can get at the local electronics store for $150.
I've just watched a single bit on a Toshiba Notebook put up the auction time from around 10s left to 38m35s. Otherwise it would have gone for about $33.
I've also seen someone **outbid themselves**, and several bids go in at around the 10s mark which only add on 2s and a penny.
So this site is certainly a scam. This surprises me, because as Jeff's already said, working to its own rules the site would clean up anyway, so why add fraud into the mix??
Swoopo is really good i think, I spent 50p worth of bids on an auction and won!!! The auction was for 40 cash and it actually came. To win you must not let yourself get carried away
I wonder if it is illegal in Australia? ...
These guys discovered how to sell $1,000 items at $8,000 while the individual customer pays $175.
That's really amazing. It is not illegal. If you think of it, it is the basis of the capitalist system, where a collective creates goods they can't individually afford for the benefit of surviving.
In this case, a collective pays the plus-value to the capitalist for the benefit of an under priced good that each individual would not be able to afford at face value.
this is at least 50 year old game theory.
i suppose it's funny that even with the answers out there, people still play.
Will someone write review like this, also to http://biddingmadness.com . In my opinion it's very similar auction site. And they have only s.c. centauctions.